September 2008
AVP International Gathering
Kakamega, Western Kenya

I've worked with the AVP non-violence training programme (Alternatives to Violence Project)
since my two-year placement in South Africa for Quaker Peace and Social Witness in 2002.

this was my first AVP international gathering - with about 130 participants from over 21 countries
including South Africa and India (where I've run workshops)
Congo, Costa Rica, Nepal, Russia, Sudan and Zimbabwe.

the local government rep. arrived hours late, then sent an SMS during his own opening speech!

the conference had a packed schedule, including one short group outing to a local waterfall



this outing took longer than planned, and we were too late to visit the nearby tropical forest... some of us made an early start later in the week

I'd first heard of this isolated remnant of old rainforest years ago, while working on forestry aid flows
much of Kenya's forests have been lost, so this was something I'd long wanted to see first hand

we found a very different waterfall hidden within the undergrowth




strange things sometimes lurk in the woods...


we were busy planning new international structures, and the end of the conference came quickly

a message from Costa Rica, and discussing the venue for our next gathering

a banner from inmates at Greenhaven Prison, New York State - where AVP began

a Māori gift from Aotearea (New Zealand)

Malesi conducts a song for peace in kiSwahili

my former colleagues Lindiwe and Neo, presenting a banner from a prison near Johannesburg

thanking Nancy for all her help organising the IG

and David as well





haka from New Zealand, loosely interpreted Kenyan style!

a joke from Australia

skits from Western Kenya


tai chi from Hong Kong

and our own Brazilian girls from Ipanema

a catchy mix of moves from Rwanda and Burundi



jokes and gifts from Sudan

a piece on the piano from the USA

and from Russia with love (and infectious laughter)

its hard to stop the South Africans from dancing!

we ended with a beautiful long round of 'Dear friend...', begun with an Indonesian version